I like being the third wheel with my married friends. Maybe I need my “couple” fix because my parents are gone. Maybe it’s because the shock of being divorced sneaks up and sucker punches me around holidays. These are the days that I miss my family room with the floors that were never finished. If I really allow myself to think, I will miss my mom’s enchiladas.
Being a third wheel makes me feel like I am a part of something, privy to the intimate nuances that only couples familiar with one another can have. They laugh at inside jokes, and then explain to me and I laugh along, grateful to be welcomed at the cool kids’ table.
After what seems like days, I drive home, to a place where a little white pup is happy to see me, to healthy snacks for one and my closet full of sexy shoes. I tell myself that I’m satiated with the part of me that I’ve missed and failed at, by conversations about home improvement projects, a trip to Smart and Final, sitcom reruns. It’s my polar opposite. I spend time with my couple friends instead of becoming a couple myself. I talk to my best girlfriend, emptying out my head while we sit in our pajamas and I am vulnerable and safe. We listen to salsa music and remember all the dancing we used to do together every weekend with cute ex boyfriends. Her hubby mixes red vodka drinks in shiny martini glasses. She serves tasty homemade soup. I load the dishwasher.
Home. The ocean sparkles under the sun. Later the waves will be audible from across the street after dusk and I'll wear perfume. I’ll be taken to a dinner in a nice restaurant, the door opened for me, my chair pulled out. We will be mindful of good manners.
I see my coffee cup from before I left, almond milk curdled. Puppy is jumping for my attention. I need groceries but not until tomorrow. I look around and think to myself, “Now, where was I?”